Where: Manado, Indonesia
May 14, 2009 : The World Ocean’s Conference, a two-day meeting of ministers and officials from more than 80 countries was held in Manado, Indonesia. Rising sea levels, warming waters and increased acidity caused by global warming were some of the major issues discussed here.
A World Wildlife Fund report released to coincide with the conference reveals that the coral reefs stretching across south-east Asia will disappear by the end of the century. This area is known as the Coral Triangle, and is home to 3,000 fish species. Deforestation, coastal reclamation, destructive fishing and the pumping of pollution and sewage into sea over the last 40 years have already destroyed about 40 per cent of these coral reefs.
The Coral Triangle makes up about two fifths of the earth’s most significant marine environment, and stretches across Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. There are 18,500 islands rich in mountain forests. The report stressed that it was not only marine ecosystems that were endangered, but also the lives of tens of millions of people who live in these coastal areas. With coastlines disappearing under rising seas, the people stand to lose their homes and livelihood.
Participants at the conference want these issues to be taken up at the United Nations climate change talks, which will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, this December.